Tag Archives: exchange readiness

Sebelius orders review of Obamacare website woes

Look in the mirror Kathleen – Sebelius orders review of Obamacare website woes – CNN.com.

“I believe strongly in the need for accountability, and in the importance of being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” she said, adding that “we need a thorough review of the contractor performance and program management structure that resulted in the flawed launch of the website.”



Want Obamacare coverage to start January 1?

Feds against paper health applications | TheHill.

Federal health officials have been advising ObamaCare counselors this week to stop using paper applications to enroll people — out of fear that the applications wouldn’t be processed in time.

Based on interviews the Associated Press conducted, enrollment counselors and brokers facilitating the insurance sign-up process have been advised by the Obama administration to stop using paper.

Uninsured consumers in the United States must sign up for health insurance by Dec. 23 in order to receive coverage starting Jan. 1.

“We received guidance from the feds recommending that folks apply online as opposed to paper,” Mike Claffey, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Insurance, told the AP.

Amateur hour.


Obamacare glitches persist

Insurers: Despite deadline, Obamacare glitches persist – CNN.com.

Customers who signed up for coverage are calling the companies with questions and finding they aren’t in their systems. And insurers have been testing the site, submitting John Doe records and not seeing them come out the other end, an industry official said.

“There’s no part of us that thinks all of this will be fixed in three days from now,” the industry official said, referring to the administration’s self-imposed Saturday deadline to make the site work for a “vast majority” of users.

Another insurance industry insider was more blunt, saying: “It’s still all jacked up.”

Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for the insurance trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans, was more circumspect.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to make sure that enrollments can be done and processed accurately,” he said.

If the problems aren’t fixed, insurers fear a worst-case scenario where consumers sign up for insurance through the website and think they’re enrolled, only to find out at the doctor’s office that they don’t have any coverage.

Amateur hour.


We have a lot of work left to do in the next few days,”

says CMS spokesperson Julie Bataille. – No Thanksgiving Celebrations for Obamacare Website Team as Deadline Nears | TIME.com.

By my calculations there are 5,000,000 people who need to replace their insurance plans, not to mention new applicants that don’t have coverage. The number of days between Dec 1 and Dec 23 is… 23. That means on average, 217,000 people a day need to sign up.




Obamacare Tech Surge

You have 30 days… Google, Oracle Workers Enlisted for Obamacare ‘Tech Surge’ – Businessweek.

Google Inc. (GOOG:US), Red Hat Inc. (RHT:US), Oracle Corp. (ORCL:US) and other technology companies are contributing dozens of computer engineers and programmers to help the Obama administration fix the U.S. health-insurance exchange website.

The help is arriving as the government’s main site for medical coverage remains plagued by repeated outages a month after its Oct. 1 debut. Michael Dickerson, a site reliability engineer on leave from Google, and Greg Gershman, innovation director for smartphone application maker Mobomo, are among those helping, the Obama administration said today.


Healthcare.gov processed an application I did not submit

Is There A Problem Here?: Healthcare.gov processed an application I did not submit.

Furthermore, the decision letter I received says that I have 10 days to appeal any decisions or I will be ineligible for coverage in the future. Now, they’ve put me in a position that I have to get Healthcare.gov and a state agency to collaborate to withdraw the application I never submitted.

I now have zero trust in Healthcare.gov.

Amateur hour.


Dropped Coverage: One Cancer-Surviving Doctor’s Story in the Age of Obamacare

The PJ Tatler » Dropped Coverage: One Cancer-Surviving Doctor’s Story in the Age of Obamacare.

And now, Obamacare is costing his own family its insurance.

What the article doesn’t make particularly clear is that Dr. Carpenter does have access to Obamacare where they don’t care about his pre-existing conditions. That is ASSUMING healthcare.gov is fixed. Which is a “Mythical Man Month” thing and may or may not happen.

But the implication of the article is “spot on”. He had insurance he liked, it covered his situation and suddently he’s losing it thanks to Obamacare and has to pay more for the replacement coverage with its 10 essential health benefits.

Why more? Because Dr. Carpenter most likely doesn’t qualify for a subsidy. He pays the full price.

Remember. President Obama promised us we could keep our plan and our doctor if we liked it? He also mentioned reductions in annual premiums too. Not just once or twice either. Dr. Carson and many others are paying the price.

Some companies are extending their current plans through 2014. Assuming Obamacare survivives, another group of individual policy holders will have to face the music of paying higher premiums.

… I’m not obivious to those Obamacare helps. I just got off the phone with potential clients who will benefit from the coverage. There is no easy answer, but there’s a better answer than this complex cluster…


Analysis: Obamacare glitches scare off many Web site users

Analysis: Obamacare glitches scare off many Web site users.

The number of visitors to the federal government’s HealthCare.gov Web site plummeted 88 percent between Oct. 1 and Oct. 13, according to a new analysis of America’s online use, while less than half of 1 percent of the site’s visitors successfully enrolled for health insurance the first week.

Lookng at this graph, of the 9.7 million that visited the site, 271,00o successfully logged in. You can’t even look at plans and pricing at this stage. Will young invincibles, who are so important to Obamacare, tolerage a non-functional website?

Amateur hour and that’s being kind. Heck, prediction Chaos is being kind.


Obamacare Exchanges Vs. Employer Health Insurance

Obamacare Exchanges Vs. Employer Health Insurance | Bankrate.com.

If you already have health insurance through your job, you’re probably wondering whether Obamacare will give you some new options. Will you be able to comparison-shop for a plan on the new online exchanges that might be better than your employer health insurance? The answer is a big, resounding “maybe.”

Well, in almost all cases the answer is “no” if your employer is offering major medical coverage.

Here’s the big hiccup: Unless your employer’s coverage for an individual is considered unaffordable under the law (that is, if your share of the premiums costs more than 9.5 percent of your household income) or inadequate (picking up less than 60 percent of the cost of covered benefits), you aren’t eligible for a government subsidy to help pay for your insurance. Subsidies are one of the things that can make plans on the new state exchanges appealing.

And if you’re not eligible for a government subsidy, the cost of coverage through the “Marketplace”, the politically correct term for “exchange”, is going to be high, as many are finding out.

Of course shopping and comparing SHOULD be SIMPLE. For exchanges that are run by the states, that may be the case. For example, in Colorado it’s very easy to shop without registering. You can even get an accurate estimate of your subsidy and receive quotes with the premium adjusted for your subsidy. ALL WITHOUT REGISTERING!!!

The government exchange, Healthcare.gov, which covers 37 states does NOT allow you to browse. In fact, you can’t see plans and pricing to the very last step of the process. This is detailed by Avik Roy in his Forbes colum: Crashing Because It Doesn’t Want You To Know How Costly Its Plans Are

A growing consensus of IT experts, outside and inside the government, have figured out a principal reason why the website for Obamacare’s federally-sponsored insurance exchange is crashing. Healthcare.gov forces you to create an account and enter detailed personal information before you can start shopping. This, in turn, creates a massive traffic bottleneck, as the government verifies your information and decides whether or not you’re eligible for subsidies. HHS bureaucrats knew this would make the website run more slowly. But they were more afraid that letting people see the underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans would scare people away.

HHS didn’t want users to see Obamacare’s true costs

“Healthcare.gov was initially going to include an option to browse before registering,” report Christopher Weaver and Louise Radnofsky in the Wall Street Journal. “But that tool was delayed, people familiar with the situation said.” Why was it delayed? “An HHS spokeswoman said the agency wanted to ensure that users were aware of their eligibility for subsidies that could help pay for coverage, before they started seeing the prices of policies.” (Emphasis added.)

I don’t see how you can argue this conclusion.


How federal cronies built — and botched — Healthcare.gov

How federal cronies built — and botched — Healthcare.gov | E government – InfoWorld.

“All but one of of the 47 contractors who won contracts to carry out work on the Affordable Care Act worked for the government prior to its passage,” the report reads. Some of the names ought to be familiar: Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Deloitte, and Booz Allen Hamilton, all of whom assumed different roles and worked on different aspects of the project.

As familiar as those names might be, especially to those who follow Beltway lobbying practices, few of them would be as commonly associated with large-scale IT projects as, say, Google, Amazon.com, or Dell would be — especially when it came to building the public-facing components of the system.

What a waste of taxpayer money healthcare.gov has been to date. Amateur hour extraordinaire.

I’m hopeful in a few weeks we can look back on this and it’s water under the bridge. Color me doubtful.

New readers, do a blog search on the phrase “prediction chaos”.


ObamaCare rates trigger more sticker shock

ObamaCare rates trigger more sticker shock | Fox News.

Unfortunately this story is short on details….

Before the exchanges opened, his insurance company said his rates would soar. But now that there are subsidies, he’s been trying for days to find out how much he would get.

“To logically compare plans, I’ve been calling them every day since October 1st,” says Mangione, “several times a day on some occasions. Sometimes enduring 45, 50 minute holds, half an hour holds.”

Although Kentucky officials were unable to give him a firm number on his subsidy because of repeated IT problems, they did refer him to a Kaiser Family Foundation site, which suggests his subsidy will be $414 a month — on a premium of $868.

So we have a guess, most likely not accurate, regarding the subsidy that Andy and his family is eligible for. We don’t know if the $868 premium is for a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum plan and we do know the family size if 4 (see below). We also don’t know what his present insurance costs, so how do we know he is experiencing “sticker shock”?

Moving forward, Andy has received some details on plans that are “similar” to what he apparently has, but one of his concerns is the ER visit copay…

And his co-pay for emergency room visits almost tripled — from $125 to $350 — an important factor for a family with two young boys.

“They’re climbing trees, they’re falling out of trees. They’re running around falling off their bike, they’re very active. They’re not unlike any other 8 and 10 year old boys,” their dad says.

That is an issue that’s easily addressed with a supplemental accident plan.

The bottom line is after reading this article, the only factual information presented is that Andy has a family size of 4 and he has a non-subsidized quote of $858 for some unknown metallic plan. I’m guessing it’s a Bronze plan based on the high ER copay.

Another very real issue is that he found a less expensive plan but his doctor is out of network. Expect to see that refrain repeated over and over.

Getting back to the subsidy, someone needs to explain to Andy that what really happens with the subsidy is the premium that he has to pay is capped as a percentage of his income based on the Federal Poverty Level. For example, if Andy makes $47,100 per year, the most he would pay for the  2nd lowest cost silver plan is 6.3% of his income, which would translate to $247/mo. His subsidy amount is determined as the difference between the $247 and the list price of the 2nd lowest cost Silver plan. That subsidy would be used to subtract from the list price of ANY plan he chose.

It sure seems like a knowledgeable navigator at the Kentucky exchange could use the above informatino to provide Andy with a very good ballpakr estimate of what his subsidy would be.


Tech experts wary of more Obamacare website glitches

Tech experts wary of more Obamacare glitches – Brett Norman and Jason Millman – POLITICO.com.

The deafness of the Obama administration….

“Despite the widespread belief that the administration was not ready for the health law’s Oct. 1 launch, top officials and lead IT contractors looked us in the eye and assured us all systems were a go,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said in a statement Thursday. “Instead, here we are 10 days later and delays and technical failures have reached epidemic proportions.”

Fears of technical issues being uncovered in a serial fashion…

“If we are already running into issues at the user account stage, we’re going to run into a lot more issues when we get to the more complex operations at the [subsidy] eligibility determination,” said Leavitt’s Schuyler. “That’s the reality. It’s a very complex process, and I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

Didn’t I use to post – Prediction chaos?